Archives for Systems

The most common reason for cancelled policies is simply failure to pay. For every policy cancelled you have to sign up another new customer just to stay even, and growing your insurance agency becomes much harder.

Even if you’re able to win the client back, you – and they – will face unnecessary costs and difficulties in dealing with cancellations and reinstatements.

All of that can be avoided if you help your clients keep the insurance they already have. At iMGA we’ve made that much easier to do. When you log in the list of policies in Pending Cancellation status will automatically show, with the most recently modified policy at the top of the list:

Agent Dashboard-Pending Cancels

To review the details of any of the policies displayed just click on the policy number shown.

To see the full list of all your Pending Cancellation policies, simply click on the “To Search” link:

Pending Cancels List

You can then call or email the clients who are at risk for canceling their policies and avoid unnecessary problems. Your clients will thank you and your agency growth will increase – truly a win-win.

At iMGA we work hard to make things as easy as possible for all our independent insurance agents. If you’re a Texas agent who sells homeowners, dwelling, renters, vacant and mobile home policies, please contact us about becoming an iMGA agent.

Installment InvoiceWhen we introduced our billing system we tried to make things as easy as possible on the customers. One of the ways we did that was to automatically spread any underpayment across all future installments. So, if their payment had been $100/month and they missed a month and had four payments left, the remaining payments would be $125 each instead of $100.

You might or might not be surprised by how many confused calls that created.

We definitely were surprised. We had tried to be nice, but in doing so we had made things too complicated. So we’re returning to simple. As of now, if the insured’s bill is $100 per month and they miss the bill (or under-pay the bill), the full amount they missed will be added to the minimum due on the next installment, exactly the way it works on pretty much every other bill (credit card, utility, etc.).

We’ve also found that a small number of customers cause the majority of late payments, cancellations and reinstatements. To encourage those customers to keep on schedule, we’ve introduced a $9 late fee. It will be applied to any invoice that is not paid by its due date.

Late payments and under-payments cause lots of problems and significant service expense and issues. These changes will minimize the number of customers who receive cancellation notices or otherwise require additional special handling, and should make understanding the billing much easier for both you and your customers.

We know retaining customers and preventing unnecessary additional interactions is important to you. We look forward to these changes helping reach those goals.

We love talking to you, our valued agents, but we know sometimes you just need a change made to a policy as quickly as possible.

So we’ve made it so you can do the most common changes whenever you need.

For example, on a Dwelling policy you can do a Non-Money endorsement or an Agent Money Endorsement by selecting Actions/Modify Policy. On the bottom of the Policy detail page you will see two buttons:

Endorsement Buttons

The Non-Money endorsement lets you change the Bill To, Pay By, Insured Name and information, Mailing Address and Additional Interest/Mortgagee information.

Non-Money Endorsement

The Agent Money endorsement lets you change the age of the roof, the Other Structures limit and the Dwelling Update information. Simply select the dwelling you want to modify:

Agent Money Endorsement Intro

Then add or correct the information:

Agent Money Endorsement Detail

You can change all the same information on a Homeowners and MobileHome policy also.

On Renters policies you can add or delete Additional Insureds or make changes to Additional Insured name and address.

This is just another small part of how we work hard to make things as easy as possible for our agents.

Hurricane Sandy

Photo courtesy Brian Birke

Fortunately when Sandy hit landfall winds were down to 80 miles per hour and she was no longer a full hurricane.

But with a death toll that has already reached 88, estimated economic losses exceeding $50 billion, and over 3 million people still without power, her impact was still massive.

At times like this we are especially proud to be part of an industry that exists to help people rebuild. Much of the damage in this case has been due to flooding, which is not covered by homeowners insurance. But estimates are that up to $20 billion of the losses will be covered by insurance. As agents, carriers, and adjusters work with customers all over the affected areas, the public will once again have the chance to see our industry come through for those in need.

While we would never compare our experience to the devastation suffered by many on the coast, over 1,000 miles away we were directly impacted by Sandy, and we learned some lessons the hard way as a result.

Make Sure You (Really) Have a Backup

This sounds so silly, and we thought we had it covered. Our systems are located in two data centers hundreds of miles apart and in the middle of the country in areas not susceptible to natural disasters. The two locations are on different power grids, with multiple connections to the internet and backup power.

But we outsource our email. Our email provider also has two data centers. But they’re only 100 miles apart. And they’re both on the coast – in New York City and New Jersey. As a result – and because of one more important lesson they hadn’t learned yet – for almost two full days we found ourselves without email.

Make Sure You (Really) Have a Contingency Plan

In addition to email being down for almost two days we had another internal service we use go down for a few hours. Their experience was enlightening, to say the least.

Their data center was on the 17th floor in a building in downtown Manhattan. So far so good. It had huge backup generators to provide power in case the electricity went out – which it did. Generators require fuel, though. So they had big tanks of diesel fuel in the basement. Still fine.

But the pumps that pumped the diesel fuel from the basement to the 17th floor were also in the basement. Below sea level. Just a few blocks from the Atlantic Ocean. The basement flooded almost immediately, rendering the pumps (and therefore the generators) completely useless.

In order to restore power they literally had to form a bucket brigade and carry diesel fuel up 17 floors a few gallons at a time.

Our email provider had a similar issue at both their data centers. It’s mind boggling that no one had thought to consider the impact of flooding – only of a power outage.

So What Now?

We are:

  1. Reviewing contingency and backup plans with each of our vendors.
  2. Ensuring that their (and our) backup plans consider multiple failures for different or multiple concurrent causes.
  3. Switching to vendors with better contingency plans.
You may want to consider the same.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those struggling to rebuild. If you would like to help personally, we recommend that you text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. The Red Cross has an amazing history of helping people in situations exactly like this.

We understand how critical it is that our agents be properly compensated for the effort it takes to service a policy. We also understand how important it is that everything in the policy issuance and management process be as easy as possible.

Effective immediately, iMGA agents may add an Agency Fee to a Renters policy.

If an Agency Fee is added, it will be:

  1. included in the calculation of the minimum down payment,
  2. disclosed clearly on the policy declarations page,
  3. remitted to the agent on the first commission statement after payment is received, and
  4. automatically included on each renewal of the policy.

Here’s how it will look on the declarations page:Agency Fee Declarations Page Display

You have a wide range of choices as to the Agency Fee you’d like to charge (including the ability to NOT charge a fee), and that choice can change by policy.

We hope you enjoy the added flexibility this provides. If the response to this is positive we will evaluate expanding it to other products as well. Please let us know what you think.

At iMGA we work very hard to make things as easy as possible for our agents and customers. We know our agents work with many companies and many products and it can be hard to be sure you let the customer know what is and is not covered on their policy.

We think we have part of the solution. While we still do not require signed applications for our policies, we now have applications available for you to provide to your customers. As of today, those applications for our Texas Elite HOA/HOA+/HOB and Admitted HOA/HOA+ Homeowners products automatically display the covered perils for the dwelling and contents along with limits and whether the coverage is at replacement cost or actual cash value.

Here’s a shot of what that looked like for a sample base HOA policy without replacement cost coverage:

HOA Plus Application Image


We hope this makes your life simpler, and makes it much easier for you to ensure your customers understand their coverage.


If you’re an agent who doesn’t work with us already and you’d like to work with a market devoted to making Texas MobileHome, Homeowners, Dwelling, Vacant and Umbrella as easy as possible, please tell us about yourself.

A couple months ago we needed to switch our print and mailing. The firm that had been doing it could not any longer. This turned out to be a huge positive for several reasons. As part of the process we:

  1. Updated the system creating the print packages.
  2. Analyzed each policy package.
  3. Reviewed the output from each transaction type.
  4. Examined ways to combine output.

These efforts returned significant savings and a better experience for our agents and clients. As a result of the project iMGA was able to produce mailers with:

  1. Much more modern, clean, user-friendly documents.
  2. Much less wasted paper and ink.
  3. Less confusing layout for the clients.
  4. Fewer envelopes and separate packages.

We know there’s always room for more improvement and we will continue to listen to suggestions about ways to get better. In fact, several of the changes we made were the direct result of input from agents that we listened to and those changes made a meaningful impact.

We’re very happy with the results so far. With a few weeks of focused efforts we were able to make substantial improvements in a significant portion of our business.

Specifically, we:

  1. Improved mailing reliability.
  2. Dramatically reduced staff effort and time needed to handle printing and mailing, and
  3. Decreased costs.

All in all, a great experience.

What portion of your business have you focused on lately? What portion of your business would you like to improve? Why not start with that now?

Compound interest is an amazing thing. One penny, doubled every day, produces almost $11 million dollars after just 30 days. Unfortunately it’s hard to get anyone to pay you 100% return each day on your money.  : )

What you absolutely can do, though, is invest in your agency and put the miracle of compounding to work in your favor.

If you just make one small change in your agency each week and it only results in one half of one percent improvement, that translates to almost a 30% improvement over a year, and almost a 70% improvement over two years.

We live this at iMGA every week. Sure, we introduce new products a lot more often than most markets, but we can’t introduce a new product every week. There is a lot we can do, though, and big or small we make sure we do something every week. Here are just a few from the last year:

  • New payment plans
  • Lower down payments
  • Higher limits
  • Increased capacity
  • Improved systems speed
  • Improved quote and application workflow
  • Automatic follow-up communications
  • An easier-to-understand bill

This week our major system upgrade is a change is bigger than most.  What’s most important about it, though, is that it prepares the way for many more changes over the next year. You’ll immediately notice the new wider policy detail display that makes it easier to read, especially on smaller monitors. You may also notice that we’re now able to assign multiple CSRs/Agents to a particular policy in case you want multiple staff members notified about changes.

Much more important than what you will notice this week, though, is that this upgrade will let us slowly, consistently, inexorably, add one more morsel of communication or remove one more just-slightly-annoying step each and every week. We are giddy at the thought, and hope that you are consistently surprised and delighted by the changes.

Are you doing the same in your agency? Is there someone responsible for working on your business efficiencies each week?

Turn your agency into a perpetual improvement machine. Just .5% per week makes a 70% difference in only two years – and wouldn’t you like to see that in your commission reports?

Dragonflyware has featured iMGA’s implementation of their MGA policy administration rating and rules system in a new case study on fast implementation of excellent MGA insurance systems.

Of course, the best feedback on our systems comes from our agents. We will continue to work to make working with iMGA as easy as possible. If you have any suggestions on ways we can improve our systems we welcome your feedback – just add a comment or give us a call.

This Dilbert cartoon does a good job of showing the type of crazy choices some companies seem to make.

We’re obsessed with making things EASY for our agents, though, so you won’t see us making this kind of choice any time soon.

Plus,  we have a fantastic system provided by the great team at Dragonflyware, so we would never have to make this kind of choice.

If you are a Texas independent insurance agent that sells personal property insurance and haven’t already used our system (where the average time to complete a quote is less than 2 minutes) complete the form for more information on becoming an iMGA agent and we’ll see if we’re a good fit for each other.

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